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Echeruo na Eceruo: Kedu nke ka mma?

~ Chinedu Uchechukwu ~

The above title goes back to the children game of letting chance decide for one, especially when

one is confronted with the problem of choosing between either two equally good alternatives, or between a good and a bad alternative. Wherever the last word ends "O bu nke aaa!" that has to be picked as the correct choice. In that way the burden of reflection is evaded, and at the same time the child has the deceptive feeling of having actually chosen, especially if the "nke aaa" falls on the better or more favourable alternative. So was it when we were children. But now as adults we are faced with something new that does not seem to have an alternative: Echeruos IGBOENGLISH DICTIONARY. And like in the period of childhood, the tendency is to revert to the game of "Nwanne na nwanne, kedu nke ka mma?" That would have been the easiest way out, if not that we are already adults, and that adulthood has the activity of serious reflection as an unavoidable responsibility. I took time to look at the two comments on Echeruos dictionary on Amazon.com website. The first reads:
"wazo@aol.com from new york city , 8. February 1999 ch becomes c; k becomes c dictionary. The excitement of having a dictionary authored by one of our respected scholars evaporates as soon as one sees the "dictionary" itself. Pink cover, few pages, over two thirds of Igbo words ignored. Tiny lettersets, and the whole bit. Why?"

This is like the excitement and expectations of a child that does not have to do "tum bo, tum bo" or "nwanne na nwanne", but hopes to have the burden of choice making taken away from him. And to his chagrin, he still has to compare. One wonders if the writer might not let his "O bu nke aa!" fall on something more colourfully packaged and printed with bloated paper that can give the impression of "a big book." The core issue of two thirds of Igbo words that have been ignored will be dealt with in the later section of this write up. The second comment on the Amazon.com website is anonymous and addresses Professor Echeruo as "Mike." I therefore would like to leave it out on the basis of its informality. But the issues of map of the Igbospeaking area and quality of production raised in it shall all be dealt with. Echeruos comments in the introduction to his book, however, invites more than "O bu nke aa!" What to me are the primary issues are the introduction of <c> for <ch>, and the introduction of "umlaut." The secondary issues that generally arise from the whole endeavour are word coverage, and other types of Igbo dictionaries and ways to get them written. With regard to the replacement of <ch> with <c> Echeruo has this to say:
"Ch" is redundant as a digraph. Nowhere in the Igbo language does a situation arise in which "ch" is in complementary distribution with "c". In addition, the Onwu Orthography does not allow Igbo to have a simple "c" although it well understood that "ch" is neither "a clear-cut cluster" nor " a combination of c and h" but "a single sound (Emenanjo, 1978). Whereas with other Igbo clusters (gb; gh; gw; kp; and sh), the component elements are themselves characters within the alphabet, in their own right, the matter is different for "ch". We thus have a character made up of "c" and "h" when the "c" does not occur independently in the alphabet. One consequence of this situation is that in enumerations, an alphabetical listing that begins with "a" must skip from "b" to "d" because "c" is not a letter in the alphabet. (Echeruo 1998: xi)

Several issues arise from this clarification, and they shall be taken up one after the other. The core issue, however, is the redundancy of <ch> as a digraph, and its not having a complementary distribution. A look into the past does not seem to provide a satisfactory reason for the initial use of the digraph. The early CMS orthography of 1852 had <ch>. Later this was changed to <c> through the help of Ida Ward. She saw the old CMS orthography as euro-centric, while the new one was for the native speakers:
"The new orthography was designed mainly for the Ibo and not the European, in order to come in line with the general movement all over Africa towards the unification of the methods of writing African languages and making unambiguous alphabets." (Ida Ward 1936:9)

The reasoning here is that the unification of the alphabets of the African languages was designed to benefit the native speaker. But one wonders whom this ambiguousness of the different alphabet systems was actually creating problems for. It obviously was not the native speakers. Thus while the catholic church supported the new orthography of Ida Ward, who was herself a catholic, the CMS stock to the old system, which they have even used to translate the Bible as early as 1852. Those in support of the replacement of <ch> with <c> argued, like Echeruo above, that "c does not occur in Ibo for any other sound." The conflict remained for years, and the effort of Ogbalu and Otu Iwelita Omenala Igbo to resolve it with a Compromise Orthography met a very strong resistance. In 1955 the Onwu Committee was set up, and could come up in 1961 with the alphabet system that has been in use up to today. But so far the question of why the digraph was introduced has not been properly explained. Some people submit to the argument that it was initially introduced by the CMS for convenience of the European. One might begin to ask here what principle guided the decisions of the Onwu Committee to go back to a digraph, after it had been dropped by the Catholics. I do not have access to the deliberations of the committee, any statement in that direction from me can only be speculative. But from the improvements on the CMS orthography through the introduction of diacritic signs it is obvious that the committee was not just sticking to the old. I also do not know how many of the committee members were Catholics and how many Protestants, and if this had any effect on the deliberations of the committee. However, the Echeruo dictionary has again taken up the old problem, and the first reason for doing that is not different from that of the Catholics expressed through Ida Ward in 1936. One might ask here: is Echeruo a catholic or a CMS adherent? And does his support of the replacement of <ch> with <c> stem from a religious affiliation? His disagreement on the basis of redundancy and complementary distribution indicates a disagreement that is not based on religious affiliation, and that is also not based "tumbolisation." For this reason, it might well help one to understand better if one examines the two concepts in their original sense and usage. Redundancy: With regard to redundancy P. H. Mathews explains it as:
The property of having more structures than is minimally necessary. A bridge, for example, needs a certain number of components if it is to stand up. In practice, however, the structure of bridges is redundant; hence, if one component were to fail, the others would still be enough to ensure that it remained standing. Similarly, in languages, a certain number of elements are needed to distinguish each word or sentence from others. But the structure in which these elements are combined are redundant, so that if e.g. an individual is indistinct the whole may still be correctly understood. (P. H. Mathews 1997: 311)

In other words, redundancy is actually "given" in language. The fact of its existence has not led to language itself becoming "too redundant," neither has it led to the reduction of language to the greatest minimum of expression. Otherwise, the worlds languages should all have ended up now with, or at least be moving towards, a one phoneme to one grapheme telegraphic kind of ideal language. Such a method of writing does not yet exist in the writing system of any natural language, in spite of all the developments in modern linguistics. This is in line with Palmers statement that:
"In language there is a great deal of redundancy and a lot of noise." (Palmers 19983: 16)

When one understands redundancy as a generally given phenomenon of human language, then its use as a reason for dropping <ch> for <c> begins to look weak. And one might begin to think of the many phonological, semantic and maybe even morpho-syntactic redundancies, and what an unfruitful effort it would be to try and reduce them. But one other thing to look at here is the fact that Echeruo mentions the redundancy not in connection with language in general, but in connection with a specific area of language: orthography, specifically, the orthography of the Igbo Language. He also explained how the graph <c> does not occur independently in the system. The problem seems then to be: using a graph that does not occur independently in the system to form a digraph. One could ask here, if a graph MUST occur independently in a system before it can be used to form a digraph in that system. So far I have not yet come across any law in the general field of linguistics or the specific area of graphology that says so. In addition to this problem Echeruo also points out the problem of enumeration when there is no <c> in the alphabets of a language: "an alphabetical listing that begins with "a" must skip from "b" to "d" because "c" is not a letter in the alphabet." This can actually not be taken as a major objection. The alphabetical order is borrowed from Latin, and the Igbo digraphs (gb; gh; gw; etc.) do not follow the order in the Latin alphabet system, as there are no digraphs in that system. Nothing even stops one from putting up the Igbo digraphs in one group, and letting the single letters form another group. Another thing connected to this is the quotation from Emenanjo above which says that (1) <ch> is not a clear-cut cluster, and (2) it is not the combination of <c> and <h> but a single sound. For clarity one might again have to look at the two concepts. Firstly, cluster has been explained as:
"A term used in the analysis of CONNECTED SPEECH to refer to any sequence of adjacent CONSONANTS occurring INITIALLY or FINALLY in a SYLLABLE, such as the initial [br-] of bread, or the final [-st] of best." David Crystal 1993: 58)

This definition gives the impression that clusters can occur only at the initial or the final position in a syllable. But Mathews makes it clearer:
"Cluster: A sequence of consonants before, after, or between vowels. E.g. [str] is a medial consonant cluster in words like astray." (Mathews 57)

With this explanation one should be rest assured that all the Igbo digraphs listed above by Emenanjo can be classified as clusters. But with Emenanjos words that <ch> is not a clear-cut cluster, one is forced to go further and ask:. What is a clear-cut cluster? In the examples cited in the first quotation /b/ and /r/ are pronounced as distinct phonemes of the English language. So also are /s/ and /t/ in best; and /s/, /t/ and /r/ in astray. Because /c/ and /h/ are not pronounced as distinct phonemes in [ch], they are then not to be seen as these other clusters that retain their distinctiveness when pronounced. Instead they are pronounced as one sound unit, and for that reason cannot form a "clear-cut" cluster, just like Emenanjo explained. But does this not also apply to the phonetic realization of the other Igbo digraphs? Let us look at them one after the other: gb; gh; gw; kp; and sh. gb: It is only a person foreign to Igbo or African languages that has problem pronouncing the /gb/ in a word like [Igbo]. In my experiment here with some of my schoolmates and professors they have always ended up saying /b/ for /gb/. And when one writes it down for them, they articulate the digraph as two distinct consonant sound units as in the clusters mentioned above, so that a word like Igbo will look like [Ig..bo]. Was it not because of such a difficulty with articulating this digraph as a "single sound" that made the Europeans write Ibo instead of Igbo? In other words, /gb/ is also a "single sound" like /ch/. gh: Give a word like "ghe" to the nearest European to you and see what he will make of it. He can only pronounce the consonants as two distinct sounds, leading to something like [g..he]. One of my course mates from Armenia goes by the name "Poghosian". In trying to pronounce the name, my professor came up with "Poghosian". She had to be corrected by the bearer of the name, because the digraph is articulated as a single sound in the Armenian language the way it is done in Igbo, like in [ugha]. <gh> therefore yields "one single sound" just like <ch>. gw: The word "ngwere" is articulated as [LLL], that is three low tones in Echeruos dictionary. By this articulation one can divide the word like this n/gwe/re, to indicate three syllables. The /gwe/ at the center is articulated as one syllable made up of /gw/ and /e/. From this articulation it becomes obvious that [gw] in Igbo is also articulated as a "single sound" like [ch]. This contrasts with the word for ginger in German: Ingwe. As a help for the reader in the German DUDEN dictionary (just like in Echeruos dictionary) there is an indication of the words syllabic division, thus: Ing|we. This shows that the German /gw/ is not a digraph of German, as it is not articulated as a "single sound" like the Igbo /gw/. In German it is a consonant cluster, in Igbo it is not a clear-cut cluster, and is also phonetically one "sound unit" just like /ch/. kp: For this digraph we need to ask an Igbo native speaker to pronounce the English word "inkpot" as though it were an Igbo word. The syllabic division that will emerge from it will look like: inkpot. He will pronounce it like the Igbo /kp/ in "kpopu", giving rise to something like [inkpot]. This again shows that /kp/ is but one "single sound," just like /ch/. sh: With regard to this sound one does not need to go far. Echeruo explains in the entries under SH that /sh/ is pronounced as "shi". This shows that it is pronounced as a "single sound", just like /ch/. All the letter combinations touched on above are called digraph: two graphs. In his explanation of the meaning of digraph, Mathews says something that is also relevant here:
digraph. A sequence of two letters corresponding, in application to a given language, to one phoneme: e.g. sh in shin, representing the single phoneme []. (Mathews 98)

Thus the Igbo two consonantal combinations can only be called digraph because they correspond to ONE phoneme, or sound unit, whether this applies to <ch> or the other combinations just discussed. The views expressed for rejecting <ch> ("(1) is not a clear-cut cluster, and (2) it is not the combination of <c> and <h> but a single sound") also applies to all the other Igbo digraphs. One might begin to ask oneself if the other digraphs should not as well be rejected. In the light of this uniform nature of the Igbo digraphs, one begins to feel sorry for <ch>, for being the only one to be singled out, even though others shear the same phonetic feature of not being a "clear-cut cluster", but instead "a single sound."

Complementary Distribution: The next major reason Echeruo gives for rejecting <ch> is that of complementary distribution. As he explains in the introduction passage quoted above, "Nowhere in the Igbo language does a situation arise in which "ch" is in complementary distribution with c`." Like with the other concepts above, one would start again with the concepts. David Crystal, in his entry on complementary, says:
"A term used primarily in PHONOLOGY is the phrase complementary distribution, referring to the mutual exclusiveness of a pair of sound in a certain PHONETIC ENVIRONMENT." (David Crystal 67).

John Lyons diagrams illustrates and explains it thus: A B

(ii) Complementary distribution "If two (or more) units [] have no contexts in common they are in complementary distribution." (John Lyons 1989: 70-71)

Such a mutual exclusiveness as shown in the diagrams has to be related to the Igbo digraphs one after the other, as was done with the other phonetic features above. But here one should pay attention to the different versions of the same word from different Igbo dialects as has also been recorded by Echeruo: okpara = opara : <p> can stand for < kp > . gbaa mgbaru = gaa ngbaru:<g> can stand for <gb> in the second word group. ghee = hee <h> stands for <gh>. gwere = were <w> can replace <gw>. shi = si <s> stands for <sh>. From the above examples one can see that there are some environments in which a graph can replace or stand in for a digraph. From Echeruos statement that "No where in the Igbo 5

language does a situation arise in which ch is in complementary distribution with c," one could start having a different understanding of the concept of complementary distribution. Apart from the fact that there are words in Igbo that have other dialectal versions without such exact graph-digraph correspondence as shown in the examples, the examples themselves, however, give one the impression of the graphs "helping out" the digraphs. One begins to wonder whether that is what Echeruo means by complementary distribution. But in an e-mail exchange about some of the issues arising from his dictionary, he answered a question I posed, which helps to show that that was not what he meant:
> 1. Is complementary distribution a necessity for orthography? "There either is, or there isn't. In English, for example, we say that the "/s/" in "catS"; and the "/z/" as in "cabS", are in complementary distribution because the alternation between them is determined by the phonological structure of the preceding morph. The choice in each case is phonologically conditioned. In this sense, if there never is a choice to make, there is no need to make a distinction. The reason it is important to distinguish "b" from "gb" is that in certain situations, the difference is material. No such difference ever occurs with "c" and "ch." The example from English is phonemic: complementary distribution as a mathematical concept applies in all taxonomic situations. "Given x and y. If x can replace y in every case, they are not in complementary distribution. If x can sometimes replace y; or if x can replace y, in some contexts, but y cannot replace x in specifiable contexts, then the terms are in complementary distribution, whether x and y are phonemes, or people. The important pre-condition is that x be not y." ("Subject: Re: Igbo grammar - complementary distribution Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999 15:29:31 -0500 (EST) From: Echeruo mecheruo@xxxx

In spite of this clarification, one is still faced with the fact that complementary distribution in PHONOLOGY is always related to allophones of a definite phoneme. Can the single letters of the digraphs shown on page 5 above be seen as the phonemes of those digraphs? They are simply realized as dialectal versions of the words written with digraphs, and not allophones of the digraphs. Roger Lasss explanation that "to qualify as allophones of one phoneme, two phones must not only be in complementary distribution, they must be phonetically similar." (Roger Lass 1984: 19). seems to confirm this. The dialectal variations of graphs for digraphs cannot be said to allophones of a given phoneme, as they are not phonetically similar. They are simply dialectal variations! But Echeruo takes the discussion further, with the statement above that "complementary distribution as a mathematical concept applies in all taxonomic situations. When one looks at it from this taxonomic angle, one begins to wonder if there is no other taxonomic approach that should take care of <ch>. What readily comes to mind here is the concept of distributional inclusion. Lyons explains it thus:
"The distribution of one unit may include (without being totally equivalent to) the distribution of another: if x occurs in all the contexts in which y occurs, but there are some contexts in which y but not x occurs, then the distribution of y includes the distribution of x."

If one takes this as nomen adequacio, <h> can then be said to have a distributional inclusion relationship with <c> in Igbo orthography. Thus <c> occurs in all the circumstances in which <h> occurs, but there are circumstances in which <h> occurs without <c>. Whether <c> exists as an independent graph within the Igbo orthography system or not, then becomes irrelevant. With such an approach one could then arrive at the conclusion that the other digraphs are 6

sometimes in complementary distribution, while <ch> has a relationship of distributional inclusion. Is there any thing that speaks against this? Ejike Eze also expressed his disagreement about the whole idea of complementary distribution with his statement that this is "a weak argument for authenticating orthography representation." (Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999. 11:24:55 0500. From: "Eze, Ejike" eeze@xxxx.xxx To: uwa-ndigbo@mcfeeley.cc.utexas.edu). But while this change of <ch> to <c> looks unjustifiable at the theoretical level, a case can be made for it from the practical point of view. Eze also said something similar in the other part of his email:
"If we adopted "c," we would avoid having a digraph in the first place. To me, that is the only REAL advantage. Why carry two suitcases when all you need is in one?" Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 11:24:55 -0500 From: "Eze, Ejike"

From this practical point of view effecting the change can therefore be justified, if only the extra suitcase is really noticeably burdensome as an extra load. From all the points that have been raised one begins to get the feeling of a certain theoretical inadequacy in the justification of the change. It is only at the practical level that there seems to be a case for it. But one can also refuse the change for the same "practical reason" that <ch> has already settled down as a long recognized digraph of Igbo orthography, and that the users of the language have already gotten used to it for decades. In addition, the greatest number of people opposed to the change also cite this practical reason of having been used to it for years. Being used to the <ch> is also something that Echeruo himself cannot deny. For, just like Chinyeaka pointed out in his objection to to the change:
I hope you guys are not suggesting that my name should be spelt "Cinyeaka" or to "cange" (change) our professors beautiful names to "Eceruo" and "Acebe"! "Cineke ajuu!" From: "Chinyeaka Emmanuel Okoli" ceokoli@xxxx.xx Date: Thu, 18 Mar 99 9:53:38 MST To: uwa-ndigbo@mcfeeley.cc.utexas.edu.

In other words, Echeruo cannot deny not having gotten used to this change of <c> for <ch>, otherwise he should have written his name as ECERUO. This reminds one of how Akujuobi once pointed to the fact that Ogbalu, a promoter of diacritic, forgot to use the diacritic signs under his name (Akujuobi P. 1983). But, no matter how we look at it, we can only come to the fair and objective conclusion that there is no compelling reason for this change. Therefore when I am asked, "Echeruo na Eceruo kedu nke ka mma?" I will say: "O bu nke aaaaaa: ECHERUO!" And my "O bu nke aaa!" will not have been left to chance, it will have been informed from the points discussed above. The Vowels The second issue arising from Echeruos dictionary is the introduction of a different kind of vowels from the sub-dotted vowels that we have been used to in the Igbo orthography system. Like in the issue of <ch>, one also has to look at the reasons for the change, as has been provided in the introduction to the dictionary: 7

The sub-dotted vowels has led to "technical typographical complications" that includes underlining: "In both handwritten and in some type texts, the sub-dots have invariably been over-written or typed over by the underlining character. Indeed, there are no underlined words in any Igbo books in use in the Nigerian school system." "By using the sub-dot, the Onwu Orthography unintentionally consigned Igbo to a script group to which, by the very nature of its sound system, the Igbo language does not belong. To resolve these problems, the New Standard Orthography replaces the previously sub-dotted Igbo vowels with umlauted ones (: ; )." (Echeruo x)

It is an undeniable fact that many printers and students of the language have had problem with underlining Igbo texts. In addition, one also has the same problem when writing with Microsoft Word. The sub-dots are simply over written when one underlines. So here we have a fact that demands a practical solution. And the solution of introducing the umlauted vowel is a practical one. But before we come to the adequacy of the solution, let us look at one other issue that is connected to this first point. Echeruo says that "Indeed, there are no underlined words in any Igbo books in use in the Nigerian school system." As I have a book on Igbo Grammar written in Igbo, and with underlined sub-dotted texts, I question this statement. In P.A. Ezikeojiakus "Fonoloji na Utoasusu Igbo," there are lots of underlined sub-dotted words. I therefore object to the generalization. Qualifying it to read "no Igbo texts known to me" might correspond more to the reality. Finally, the publishers of the above named grammar book should be in the position of helping others to achieve what has been a problem to other publishers. Echeruo also explains how "the Onwu Orthography unintentionally consigned Igbo to a script group to which, by the very nature of its sound system, the Igbo language does not belong." I find it difficult to understand what is really meant here. None of the scripts introduced into the field of Nigerian languages can be said to be indigenous to Nigeria. If with regard to Igbo orthography, we wish to adhere strictly to a system of writing that can be said to arise from us, then we have to dig up Nsibidi, a system of indigenous writing noticed by the colonial masters. (Afigbo 1981). But as long as we are using borrowed alphabets that did not develop from our culture, the idea of rejecting them after decades of usage for the reason that they do not take care of our sound system, is really suspect. Echeruo has already explained the technical difficulty of printing, to bring in this argument of script group and sound system of the Igbo language can only be seen as a way of trying to strengthen the position of technical problems with the diacritics. I have not yet read of a uniform script group for the sound system of the Benue-Congo Group of African languages, for that is the group to which Igbo belongs. One may also ask here: does the introduction of the new vowels now place Igbo in that very script group to which, by its sound system, it belongs? The fact that it does not should become obvious in the third point below. In trying to resolve the problems he has pointed out, Echeruo introduces a New Standard Orthography, which "replaces the previously sub-dotted Igbo vowels with umlauted ones (; ; )." It should be noted here that umlaut is a name for the German kind of vowel. According to DUDEN Universal German Dictionary, Umlaut is: " 1. The alteration of a vowel, especially the change of an a, o, u, au to , , , u. 2. A vowel that arises through Umlaut. " [Translation, mine]. Some of us had problem with this whole idea of umlaut. It was therefore more of a relief when Echeruo made some clarification on this: 8

The NSO (which is a very minor upgrading of the ONWU Orthography) proposes a double super-dot instead. Because that "double-dot" is associated with the "umlaut" proper, -- I have often referred to the new symbols as "umlauted." In the dictionary, I of course provide very brief descriptions of the phonetic character of the sounds these symbols represent, and make no reference to umlauts. The affected Igbo vowels themselves are not "umlauted"; the symbols representing them are. Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 10:38:37 -0500 (EST) From: Echeruo mecheruo@xxxx.xxx To: uwa-ndigbo@mcfeeley.cc.utexas.edu

With this clarification one is rest assured that the new vowels introduced in the dictionary are to be described as having "double super-dot" To M. O. Ene:
This explanation will change a whole lot, for me personally. I am more comfortable with "double super-dot" instead of UMLAUTS and all its Germanic connotation. This removes a sore point of contention in some debates." Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 12:49:52 -0500 From: "M. O. Ene" enemauri@xxx.xxx To: uwa-ndigbo@mcfeeley.cc.utexas.edu

But this clarification only further raises another problem. Does this change now place Igbo in the correct script group? Also with the explanation that "The affected Igbo vowels themselves are not "umlauted"; the symbols representing them are.", one comes back once again to the problem of arbitrariness of the alphabets. The umlauted or "double super-doted" vowels have been developed by the Germans for their language. To chose these vowels developed for and within a specific language with a specific sound system of its own, and then decide to describe them differently, looks suspicious to me. We are made to understand that the Onwu Orthography "unintentionally consigned Igbo to a script group to which, by the very nature of its sound system, the Igbo language does not belong." Does this new script express the very sound system to which the Igbo language belongs? I tried Echeruos statements on the Onwu Orthography and the New Standard Orthography with my classmates here in Germany. They easily understood the sub-doted vowels as belonging to a different sound system, and also tried to pronounce it differently. Those I tried to get to pronounce the umlauted (super-doted) vowels with the Igbo sound system simply laughed at it. Some asked whether I was trying to spoil their language. I can imagine myself having a good laugh at a German who has an Igbo text before him, and who always has to remind himself that he is not reading his mother tongue. Finally, the whole change being advocated in the New Standard Orthography lacks a compelling theoretical thrust. But as there seems to be something that can be said for it at the practical level. Maybe the thrust of the argument for it should be directed at the practical expedience. In the long run, its acceptability will be dependent more on its practicability.

The Secondary Issues It is in dealing with the secondary issues connected with the whole idea of an Igbo dictionary that one comes to the full appreciation of the work Echeruo has done. When I spoke about the dictionary to another Igboman, he asked me whether it was as big as the German DUDEN of 9

1816 pages. I could not help noticing the disappointment written all over his face. This is also like the disappointment of one of those that commented on the dictionary on Amazon.com website. When compared with the foreign dictionaries known to us, Echeruos dictionary is really small. Some of the people making these comments fail to understand that it has all been a one-man effort. Echeruo cannot possibly be in all villages to collect all dialects of Igbo language. In such a one-man effort, the limitation of words cannot be denied. As far as I am concerned, those who cannot make meaningful and objective contributions to the whole idea of producing as many Igbo dictionaries as possible should not criticize the positive efforts of others. The first point raised by the first commentator is the fact that 2/3 of Igbo words have been left out. The writer of that comment should make available those words that have been left out. If, however, he would like to earn something for making such words available, let him feel free to publish his own dictionary, or simply make useful suggestions to the ones that have been published. The anonymous reviewer spoke of the map in Echeruos dictionary as not presenting the whole Igbo speaking area of the East. It needs to be mentioned here that Echeruo will, on the other hand, be accused of a certain Igbo portrayal of themselves as the Overlords of Eastern Nigeria, if he were to extend the map. Maybe it is time for maps of Igbo speaking areas of Nigeria to start arising from the indigenes of the areas that have not been called core East. In that way, we would know which area sees itself as Igbo-speaking, and which does not. The third and last issue to be discussed here is that of suggestions to the making of more Igbo dictionaries. I would suggest the different departments of Igbo Linguistics as the beginning points here. One can liken such an endeavour to Isichies Igbo World, which is based on the term papers and research works of students. In the same way, a lot can be unearthed from all the projects done so far from all the departments of Igbo Language to the benefit of the language. The other areas of the Igbo language that can also yield more material for more dictionaries are special dictionaries, like medical dictionaries, dictionary of the different dialects, dictionaries of the different crafts, and even something like the farmers dictionary. One way of getting these kinds of dictionaries started is by having them as project topics for students of Igbo at the different Nigerian universities. Finally, Echeruo has done a work that is worthy of praise. He has done noble! But the problems arising from the work need not be overlooked. Addressing such problems can only be to the benefit of the Igbo language. References
Afigbo, A.E. (1981). Ropes of Sand. London: University Press Limited Akujuobi, P. (1983). Towards an Igbo Literary Standard. London: Kegan Paul Crystal, D. (1993). A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics. U.K.: Blackwell DUDEN Deutsches Universales Wrterbuch (1989). Mannheim: Dudenverlag Ezikeojiaku, P.A.(1989). Fonoloji na Utoasusu Igbo. Ibadan: Macmillan Nigeria Publishers Ltd. Lyons, J. (1989). Introduction to Theoretical Linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Mathews, P.H. (1997). Oxford Concise Dictionary of Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press Palmers, F. R. (1983). Semantics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

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Chinedu Uchechukwu is a student of Germanistik at Otto-Friederich Universitt, Bamberg, Germany. email: NEDUCHI@bnv-bamberg.de : NO LONGER VALID; GO TO: neduchi@yahoo.com

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